How to develop your most authentic and best jazz playing

By Michael Lake | May 3, 2021 |

I received an email yesterday from a well-known jazz musician who after watching someone on Youtube “teaching jazz’ on the piano using root position chords on ii-V-I’s asked me…“Is it true that the more stupid and simplistic the delivery is, the more popular it is?” This video had over a quarter-million views, by the way.As Dr.…

Richie Beirach on how you can develop a good instinctive sense of time

By Michael Lake | April 24, 2021 |

Remember the scene in the movie What About Bob where Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), terrified of being on a boat, is tied to the mast as he proudly yells, “I sail! I’m sailing! I’m a sailor!”? That’s my inside joke with Richie Beirach when we talk about him reading comments from my blog. He might not like…

Quick and easy websites for jazz musicians

By Michael Lake | April 21, 2021 |

I recently created websites for a couple of musicians. And the process reminded me of how simple it has become to create a good-looking site that serves a variety of purposes. So, the question for you is, how’s YOUR website? Have you been feeling guilty about its dated look and limited functionality? Did you start…

Is this your time to consider a new business idea?

By Michael Lake | March 30, 2021 |

On Labor day 1995, an Iranian-American named Pierre Omidyar tried auctioning off some stuff on his personal website that he no longer wanted. He wasn’t sure if he could drum up any business through this relatively new phenomenon called the World Wide Web, but it seemed worth trying. Among the items he posted was a…

The exhilaration of not falling to my death

By Michael Lake | March 27, 2021 |

Our fear and exhilaration one afternoon during last week’s spring break provided an important moment for both my son and for me-and perhaps for something worth your consideration. My 17-year old and I traveled to the northern Arizona mountains last week in anticipation of a well-deserved change of scenery and mindset. One of the activities…

A reaction I hadn’t expected to my recent audiobook

By Michael Lake | March 21, 2021 |

After announcing the audiobook version of the softcover book Richie Beirach and I recently published called A Framework for Jazz Mastery, I received a terrific response from a customer. Before I share with you what he wrote, let me share one objective for the books I’ve published over this past year with Richie, Dave Liebman,…

Fun with drone tracks

By Michael Lake | March 19, 2021 |

I enjoy crafting harmony tracks with which to practice. They are not usually jazz, but instead are more ethereal. Here’s one I like because the harmony slowly becomes more complex and ear-stretching. Things to do with them: Sing some scales and melodies over it in order to get your ear in tune With your instrument…

Three things you should stop doing right now if you want to become an accomplished jazz player

By Michael Lake | March 17, 2021 |

The metronome is okay for young kids trying to practice beginner shit like five-finger little piano pieces or first attempts at trying to play scales, but for a jazz player, it’s very counterproductive. Practicing time with a metronome gives the jazz player a false sense of time. Jazz time is much more flexible than strict…

Is the alto trombone a transposing instrument?

By Michael Lake | March 16, 2021 |

I am often asked this question and I’m not sure I’ve ever given a satisfactory answer, at least one that satisfies aspiring alto trombone players. So let me take another whack at it. The fundamental of the alto is Eb but it is considered a concert instrument. Remember that the tenor trombone is a concert…

Why can you only play music that’s written on the page?

By Michael Lake | March 15, 2021 |

This question was asked of me recently by a musician whom I believe is a classical player. It’s a great question, one that I get a lot, and probably on the minds of hundreds of thousands of musicians-jazz or otherwise. Here’s a sample of comments I’ve received just over the past couple of weeks that…